I’ve been studying intellectual property for almost nine years. For a sociology MA in 2003-2005 I researched intellectual property and reported on what it means for participatory forms of democracy. Today I study how intellectual properties get priced. The following is the abstract of my most recent paper, in which I define intellectual property in terms of the sociology of business and marketing.
‘Intellectual Property: A Socio-Economic Definition’
In this paper I describe a socio-economic framework in which to study intellectual property (IP). First, I give a brief US history of intellectual property since 1971, arguing IP is as important to understanding ‘advanced capitalism’ as are alternative narratives such as globalization, post-industrialism, informationalism, and financialization. Second, I develop a socio-economic definition of intellectual property as audience-mediated, communicated symbols of knowledge: the key interaction is between symbols and audiences; the analytical model is symbol+marketing+audience=intellectual property. Third, I make the case that, for business fields, intellectual property represents a practical, empirical reason for more sustained attention given to qualitative socio-economic methods of data collection. I conclude by identifying a few of the methods best at collecting symbolic and audience data.
Copyright Mark Austen Whipple